Russell Pearce, have a heapin' helping of freshly baked humble pie.
Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group spearheading the effort to recall the powerful state Senate President, made history today, turning in 18,315 signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, more than double the 7,756 signatures required by law for a recall election.
SOS spokesman Matt Roberts confirmed the receipt of the signatures, and recall organizer Randy Parraz promised that the group will be turning in more by days end.
The SOS now has ten days to review the signatures and get them over to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office for verification. The recorder then has 60 days to verify the signatures. If the petition sheets pass muster, the SOS will send a letter to Pearce, telling him he can either resign or face a recall.
There's a period during which legal challenges can be made, then the ball heads over to Governor Jan Brewer's court, where she'll have 15 days to make the official call for an election. Roberts said that depending on whether or not the different entities involved use all of the time allotted the recall election could go down either this November or in March of next year.
Parraz's folks have been scrubbing the sigs, keeping those from qualified electors of Legislative District 18, from whence Pearce crawled from the primordial slime. So a recall will happen. It's only a matter what the date will be.
Pearce and his allies, like failed U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth, are already squealing like the stuck pigs, e-mailing fundraising requests to the rabid Republican horde that refer to recall volunteers as "ultra liberal, open-border, pro-amnesty mafia...who carry swastikas and call ALL conservatives Hitler."
Which, of course, is untrue, though I would note that at least one local conservanut pol I know of has circulated neo-Nazi e-mails in the past and palled around with swastika-lickers, notwithstanding his denials.
Conservative pundits such as the Arizona Republic's Rob Robb have taken to calling the recall effort an "abuse" of the system. Interesting how it became an "abuse" once the recall effort began to steamroll toward success.
We should remember that when the recall campaign began at the end of January, it was given only marginal coverage (if that) by the mainstream press.
But the little recall that could scored more signatures than Pearce got votes in his last campaign, where he pulled 17,552 lost souls. In the process, the recall campaign raised more than $30,000 and registered more than a thousand new voters.
So squeal, kvetch, and harrumph all you want, naysayers. Tell it to the voters. They're the ones who will now decide Pearce's fate. And there's not a dang thing you can do about it.
Recall supporters will party in Pearce's home town tonight from 6 p.m. on at a venue called The Wrighthouse, 636 W University Drive, Mesa. Consider it the first of many Pearce retirement parties in the months to come.
A better Arizona is just 'round the corner. To quote that great modern philosopher Bono, "It's a beautiful day..."